Lethal injection: can pharma kill the death penalty?

A recent problematic execution by lethal injection has reignited the debate about the ethics of using medical products to kill. In October, Oklahoma prison inmate John Marion Grant was executed by a lethal injection. Strapped to a gurney, Grant convulsed and vomited – highly unusual for the procedure – after being given midazolam, a sedative and the first of three drugs that are usually administered for lethal injection. Grant was declared unconscious around 15 minutes after receiving the first injection and died roughly six minutes after that. Extreme shortages resulting from the EU’s and pharma companies’ anti-execution moves have seen states seek alternative supplies illicitly from overseas manufacturers , obtain them from less-than-reputable compounding facilities and manufacturers , and experiment with alternative drugs and untested combinations . Now, this botched procedure – Oklahoma’s first lethal injection in six years after a spate of flawed executions in 2014 and 2015 – h

USA | The last federal inmate on death row from Connecticut is spared execution, sentenced instead to life in prison for a horrifying, triple murder

The last federal criminal defendant who had been facing execution for a crime in Connecticut was resentenced to life in prison Thursday in federal court for a horrific, triple murder in Bridgeport 16 years ago.

Azibo Aquart, now 40 years old, was 23 in 2005 when he and others in his drug crew kidnapped three people he considered rivals, wrapped them in duct tape with only their eyes and noses uncovered and beat them to death with baseball bats.

He was convicted in 2011 of more than a half dozen murder, racketeering and drug crimes. He was sentenced to death a year later and imprisoned on death row at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.

A federal appeals court in New York reversed the death sentence in 2018 finding that prosecutors had improperly questioned an FBI agent during the trial. The appeals court ordered Aquart resentenced. After federal prosecutors decided against pursuing a second death sentence, U.S. Judge Janet Bond Arterton imposed the only alternative under the law, which is life in prison.

Aquart became the first federal criminal defendant in Connecticut to get a death sentence after the federal government reinstated capital punishment in 1988. Former President Donald Trump resumed federal executions in 2020 after a 17-year hiatus. Federal officials said there may be two or three pending federal cases in Connecticut that are death penalty eligible, but a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said death sentences are not being pursued in any of them.

Connecticut abolished capital punishment for state crimes in 2015 and closed down the state’s death row.

Federal prosecutor Elena Lalli Coronado told Arterton that Aquart’s victims died a “brutal, pointless and agonizing death,” and that at one point during the baseball bat murders, he joked to one of his accomplices, “Yo, come and get you some.”

Relatives of Aquart’s victims told Arterton of grand children and a great grandchild who are growing up without having known their murdered grandparents or great grandparents. They all asked Arterton to put an end to a seemingly interminable prosecution that one said has summoned them back to court repeatedly to relieve their losses through more “hearings, pleadings and argument.”

Aquart’s lawyers were building the legal foundation for another return to court to argue for a further sentence reduction on compassionate grounds because of what they called his exemplary record of self-improvement while confined under harsh death row conditions.

They said Aquart had a terrifying childhood, was physically and sexually abused as a child and was homeless on the streets of Bridgeport by age 12. He was so traumatized by the conditions he encountered when arriving on death row that he became incapable of speech, his lawyers said.

Arterton said Aquart’s resentencing “shines a light on the terrifying and arbitrary nature of life on death row and the toll that it takes, nearly driving Mr. Aquart to madness.”

Source: courant.com, Ed Mahony, October 21, 2021

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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